In this edition of The Wrestling Dictionary on Atletifo, we’ll go through the origins of the term Babyface in wrestling.
We’ll explain what a babyface is and look at what they call the term in other countries. We’ll also go through what it means to be a Babyface in wrestling and look at some of the times when a wrestler following the rules doesn’t quite get the reaction he wanted from the crowd.
What Does Babyface men?
A Babyface in wrestling is the good guy in a match or promotion. This is a wrestler that the promoter wants the fans to cheer for and will hopefully want to see defeating the bad guy.
The babyface is typically a moral character who has socially accepted principles, but during certain times in history, the concept of a babyface has varied wildly.
Traditionally, a babyface follows a few simple rules. These are:
- Never Cheat To Win
- Never Use Weapons Unless The Stipulation Allows it
- Never Insult The Crowd
- Always Stick To Your Morals
- Always Try To Make The Crowd Happy
Being a babyface is basically the opposite of a heel, or bad guy. They are polar opposites, which is why they make such great opponents.
The babyface is unmistakeably good (sometimes to a fault) with the heel being clearly bad. This gives the crowd someone obvious to cheer and boo and makes it easier for the promoter to sell a match between the two.
The job of the babyface is to be somebody the crowd can rally behind. The crowd is meant to cheer the babyface in professional wrestling and want to see them win, with the heel doing their best to do the opposite.
They also want to see the babyface defeat the heel, which, if done properly can lead to some big matches where the crowd are rabid, wanting to see the good guy beat the bad guy and will pay money to see it happen.
In other countries, the term was not traditionally used. Instead, they had their own word for the concept of a good guy in wrestling.
In Great Britain and Europe in the 1900s, the babyface or face was known as a “Blue Eye”.
In Mexico, the babyfaces are called “técnicos“and are depicted more like superheroes at times, rather than professional wrestlers.
Little is known about the origin of why the heroes in wrestling are called babyfaces, but it has been a practice that has gone on for decades, or even centuries. The term was originally only known to those in the business and not used in front of fans, in order not to break Kayfabe.
Inconsistencies In Babyfaces
Sometimes what constitutes a babyface is not too clear. A wrestler may break one or more of the “rules” to being a good guy yet still received huge cheers from the crowd. Other times they may do everything to convince the crowd they are good, but still get booed out of the building.
Hulk Hogan was a babyface who often did heelish things.
His move set contained moves like a back rake or an eye poke, something generally used by bad guys to break the rules in wrestling. He also was known to be petty, eliminating Sycho Sid from the Royal Rumble despite being the babyface out of the two.
Meanwhile, John Cena was the ultimate babyface. Never breaking the rules, always being the good guy and never wavering from his ideals.
However, despite this immaculate presentation, he was hated by a large portion of the crowd for years. This was because he was perceived to be doing “heel” things backstage, with the idea he was holding back younger talent to stay on top breaking the idea of Kayfabe for the crowd.
Cody Rhodes also suffered boos when he should have been cheered. He started out as a babyface in AEW, but over time became one of the most hated men in the company.
The crowd continued to boo him despite not changing his character from his original good guy persona. He then moved to the WWE where he was cheered for the same actions.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.